CLARKSBURG, W.Va. — Harrison County Prosecutor Joe Shaffer said Friday on MetroNews Talkline that he struggled with a tragic case he prosecuted this week. The case involved Tina Owens, 57, of Jarvisville. She accidentally shot and killed her grandson as he lay in his bed at his home near her home.
“Mrs. Owens was basically just firing willy-nilly into the dark,” Shaffer said.
Owens opened fire the night of June 30 after hearing what she thought was an intruder on her property. The bullet penetrated the wall of her son’s home nearby and struck her 11-year-old grandson as he lay in his bed.
She pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and was sentenced Thursday to one year probation.
“I felt we needed to present it to the grand jury for two reasons,” Shaffer said. “Number one so she would be held accountable and number two to raise the awareness of the issue of gun ownership and responsibility.”
Shaffer described himself during the Talkline appearance as “a gun guy”. He said he believes in the right for everybody to own a gun to defend themselves in their home. However, he believes this case highlights the need to do something to emphasize the need to be able to safely use a firearm.
“Anybody whose going to have a gun in their home,” said Shaffer. “Taking a class, getting trained on how to use it, getting trained on the responsibilities of how to use it so hopefully we can prevent something like this from happening in the future.”